Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why The 2021 Oscars Will Look Totally Different

The 2021 Academy Awards will look completely different this year, thanks to a new set of rules designed to keep the organization safe and healthy.

Thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Oscars — which were already moved back by nearly two months to the end of April — will seriously limit the number of guests in person during the ceremony. According to a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, only select people will actually attend the annual celebration of cinematic greatness in person. This year, many celebrities will experience the Oscars the same way that their fans do... from their couch.

"Though we'd hoped the pandemic would be more in our rearview mirror by the month of April, the health and safety of our members and Oscar nominees are our primary concern, so we've had to make some necessary decisions about some of our highly anticipated Oscar-week events," Academy president David Rubin said in the statement. "This year, those attending the awards in person will be nominees, their guest, and presenters — with an audience of millions watching and cheering from all around the world." Rubin also announced that the annual Oscar luncheon, the post-event Governor's Ball, and other traditional events are canceled outright.

However, as Rubin reminded the Academy, there's still plenty to look forward to at this year's Oscars: "In a year marked by so much uncertainty, one thing is without question: We have enlisted the ideal trio of producers–Jesse Collins, Stacey Sher and Steven Soderbergh–to put together an Oscars show like none other, to honor the extraordinary movies, memorable performances and achievements in filmmaking of the past year."

The Oscars are the latest awards show to adjust to these difficult times

For months — aside from adjusting the date of the ceremony — the Academy has been fairly quiet about their pandemic contingency plan, letting movie fans wonder about the fate of the industry's biggest night. However, with this announcement, the Oscars have become the latest awards show to make necessary adjustments as COVID-19 continues to surge throughout the globe.

In September of 2020, the Emmy Awards staged a "socially distant" ceremony with host Jimmy Kimmel and just a few presenters at Los Angeles' Staples Center, while nominees — and winners — video conferenced into the event from home. (As a jarring touch, winners were gifted their statues by people arriving at their homes in full protective gear.)

Though the Emmys went fairly smoothly, unfortunately, the 2021 Golden Globes didn't fare quite as well; thanks to a ceremony plagued with tech problems, critics derided the most recent Globes, which spent most of the event leaving celebrities' Zoom screens up for an awkwardly long time or cutting out entirely. Meanwhile, hosts Amy Poehler and Tina Fey handled the proceedings from different coasts, overseeing audiences filled with essential workers and first responders in Los Angeles and New York.

Just like every other major event during this strange time, the Oscars, which released its list of nominees on March 15, has to make some adjustments to keep everyone as safe as possible. This year's COVID-19 era — and socially distant — Academy Awards will take place on April 25, 2021.